For thousands of years Niitsitapi traveled throughout their traditional territory co-existing with the land, plants, animals and other beings.
Evidence of the early days comes in the form of oral tradition, artifacts and those remaining landmarks which have survived the settlement of the prairies. Medicine wheels, tipi rings, rock formations, pictographs, rock writings, effigies, buffalo jumps, pounds and cairns may all provide historical clues. Settlers who arrived in the 19th century began to clear land for agriculture. Since that time, natural events, vandals, souvenir hunters and industrial development have also eliminated many remnants of the past. Sites remaining in more isolated areas, along with those more accessible, are beginning to receive government protection and public awareness has increased their chance for survival. Unfortunately disrespect for these historical, and sometimes sacred, sites continues to the present day in spite of efforts to protect them. For example, the Big Rock near Okotoks, Alberta, an important historical site, is often used by visitors for climbing, and recently graffiti was painted on it. Elders and archaeologists will attempt to clean up the graffiti. It will only be through increased public education and awareness that these special places will survive to provide a glimpse of the past for generations to come.